How the Tour will be policed in Sheffield

Temporary Chief Inspector Simon Wanless
Temporary Chief Inspector Simon Wanless
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Policing the Tour de France will involve 400 officers and has been months in the planning.

Here Temporary Chief Inspector Simon Wanless gives his view on the challenge ahead.

“It’s just weeks before the eyes of the world focus on South Yorkshire as it hosts one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

Although the Tour de France has been to the UK before, it has never been north of London until now.

Sheffield has been given the privilege of staging the legendary competition, which will see the world’s greatest cyclists descend on our city on Sunday July 6. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime event as it’s unlikely the world-famous race will return to the county in my lifetime.

While I can’t predict who will be first to cross the finishing line, one thing I can confidently forecast is that thousands of people will flock to the city and surrounding areas to watch the sporting spectacle and soak up the atmosphere.

The result will be massive crowds of people as well as a huge increase in the number of vehicles on the roads. This poses a significant issue for local authorities and emergency services, one we have been planning for since the bid to hold the race in the county was approved.

A dedicated police team has been working to plan for the event, to ensure the rest of the county can still operate as normal, working with partners to put contingency plans in place to ensure we can still provide the same level of service to the people of South Yorkshire.

We have worked closely with the fire and ambulance services, as well as councils, to ensure we are prepared.

There will be around 400 officers along the cycle route, on hand to deal with any issues that you may expect to arise with extremely large groups of people.

You will see a varied range of officers on the day, from PCs and PCSOs to nearly 100 special constables, who will be giving up their spare time to respond to any policing matters that arise on the day. Special Constables from Humberside Police are providing support too.

It’s important to remember why police are attending- we are there to provide visibility and reassurance, to deal with any issues that arise, and to prevent and detect crime.

We are not there for crowd control or traffic management – this will be dealt with by the 4,000 stewards and 3,500 volunteers who are being drafted in by the Tour de France team to work for the local authority to ensure the race runs smoothly.

A significant issue on the day will be people trying to get around the city and I urge people not to underestimate how busy it’s going to be.

People will be travelling to Sheffield long before the race begins and we expect to see an increased demand in the city, with race fans probably arriving from the Friday onwards.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to check road closure locations and times before they travel. Plan your journey well in advance, use the approved, organised car parks, organise where you’re going to park, and allow extra time.

There will be a number of particularly busy locations across the city, with Bradfield being very popular.

With the increased numbers of people in the county, there is a possibility that those out and about on the day may be victims of crime. There are a number of simple steps people can follow to prevent this from happening.

• Ensure that your vehicle is left locked and secured

• Don’t leave valuable items on show in your vehicle

• Make sure you keep your belongings with you at all times

• Don’t leave bikes unattended other than in cycle parks

A great deal of organisation has gone into staging the event in our county, with meticulous planning to ensure that it’s a safe and enjoyable day for all. I encourage anyone who can get to the cycle route on the day to make the most of the historical race being held right on our doorsteps.

Sports fans are used to watching the Tour De France in some of the greatest cities on earth, including London, Monte Carlo and Berlin. Now it’s Sheffield’s opportunity to shine and to take this unique opportunity to show the rest of the world that we can stage one of the most anticipated events on the sporting calendar.”